Ipswich racer Ash Walsh wins Supercars lifeline
HE was where he wants to be, and that's not just Queensland Raceway.
He was back in the "main game'' pits, planning his return to the Supercars championship.
After losing a spot in the Erebus team at the start of the year, Ipswich-bred racer Ash Walsh has received a welcome lifeline.
Through a previous chat with Brad Jones Racing, Walsh has been invited to co-drive with Tim Slade in the three Pirtek Enduro Cup (longer distance) races coming up.
He'll join Slade racing a Holden Commodore during those three major race weekends at Sandown, Bathurst and the Gold Coast.
After the Freightliner Racing team's encouraging performances at Queensland Raceway over the weekend, Walsh is thrilled to get another chance to prove himself in the Supercars arena.
"That's where I want to be,'' last year's Supercars Young Gun award winner said.
"Sladey has been doing really well. He was just outside the top five in both races (sixth on Saturday and seventh in Sunday's longer race at QR).
"It's really good to be involved with Brad Jones Racing. They are like a family-run team and the whole atmosphere is good where everybody is friendly and gets along well.''
Brad Jones Racing is based in Albury.
"They live in a small country town so I think they do a lot of stuff together outside of racing as well,'' Walsh, 28, said.
During the Friday and Saturday sessions at the Ipswich SuperSprint weekend, Walsh was a keen observer with his new team.
He also got to drive on Friday in a practice session for co-drivers.
That increased his appetite for success.
"I was just getting ready for the enduros and to help with all intricacies of being around them,'' he said.
"It's a genuine opportunity to get a podium, or a top five, or a win. I've never been there to fight for it.''
Walsh previously showed promise as a co-driver at Bathurst in 2014 racing with the Dick Johnson team.
He's also raced at Sandown and the Gold Coast, having enjoyed a full season with Erebus last year.
However, Erebus opted for other driver options this season, leaving Walsh in the Carrera Cup series.
After some tyre issues and challenging times, Walsh is in sixth place heading to the next round in Sydney.
Having enduro and Carrera Cup commitments coming up will allow Walsh to display his versatility adapting between different cars.
However, the former Ipswich Grammar School student has not been limited to racing in Australia.
He recently accepted a last-minute call-up to race an Aston Martin GT3 for the Miedecke Stone Motorsport team in the GT Asia event in Japan.
Although the wet weather marred the team's performance in the two, one-hour races, Walsh gained more valuable international experience.
"That's the whole idea behind it, to get a heap of miles, particularly enduro miles, under my belt,'' he said.
Returning to Queensland Raceway was another enjoyable weekend for Walsh, who has spent considerable time testing and racing at his home circuit.
"It's always exciting at Ipswich because it's a really difficult track to set up,'' he said.
Apart from continuing to race his Porsche in the remaining Carrera Cup races this season, Ipswich speedster Ash Walsh will line up in the Supercars enduro series. He'll be a co-driver with Tim Slade in the Freightliner Racing Holden Commodore. Walsh's next major races:
September 16-18: Sandown 500
October 6-9: Bathurst 1000
October 21-23: Gold Coast 600